When it comes to booze, you either know your stuff, or you knooooowww your stuff. Being a booze know-it-all isn’t being able to down a 6-pack in a half hour. Being a booze know-it-all is knowing how to pronounce German beer names, and buying a bottle of wine for its vintage, not its price. But, if you really want to get intense, there are few more in depth drinking experiences than whiskey tasting. Debatably the best spirit on the market, whiskeys vary greatly, so knowing the difference between your scotchs and your bourbons is more important now than ever. If you see a tasting in your future, here are the things you must know:

1. Have the right glassware. Give a 5oz cognac snifter a try.

2. Don’t go overboard. Don’t have more than 4 or 5 different whiskies available to try.

3. Stay hydrated. Keeping still water at hand will keep your palette fresh.

4. Get the right ice. Hire a glass carver. Or, if that’s just slightly out of your price range, get your hands on a spherical ice mold.

5. Stay busy. Make it an experience. Smoke a cigar. Or get your shoes shined.

6. Know what you like. Don’t just pick the first 5 whiskies you see at the liquor store. Do some research, and get the ones with flavors you know you’ll enjoy.

Thanks to Business Insider for the intel. They spoke with Nicholas Pollacchi, a well-known whiskey expert, to get the low down on whiskey tastings. Read their post here.